I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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- I have been a weekend warrior for approx 6 months
- I have no history of athsma
- I'm 6ft and 85kg's
- I push myself and have done a good bit of roller and stationary trainer work as well so my fitness is quite good now and I'm building strength.
- I scoped out my commute to work last weekend and am going to commute 2 days a week from now on
- First commute run was this one ---> http://app.strava.com/activities/27682718 Proud as nuts of that ride but I suspect its not a particularly competitive Strava ride.
Anyway towards the end of that ride there is a steep segment called 'ANZAC AVE Hill (Top)' I had pushed myself on that ride but didn't think I was particularly killing myself, however just at the top of that hill I had a lot of trouble breathing. It almost felt like my lungs (and throat especially) couldn't open up fully/enough. I was wheezing as well.
Scary really because there was no warning. I was pushing but felt good, my legs weren't protesting any more than normal on a steep climb and my cardio didn't seem too pushed. I was out of the saddle and in a nice rhythm grinding my way to the top of the hill, I felt like I could have kept on climbing, but perhaps I was just ignoring my body and grinding out to a rhythm. I got 4th overall on the segment ahead of some people I know that are far stronger, fitter and more experienced than me, so maybe I was just pushing beyond my limits without knowing it.
I got to the top just as the Shortness Of Breath started, as I crested the top of the hill I just peddled on in the granny gear taking it super easy (low cadence and speed) but it just got worse, so I stopped and tried to calm my breathing (it didn't seem particularly rapid) but just 'stressed' as it were. For a moment, as it was getting rapidly worse, I thought $h!t I'm gong to need an ambulance here but I just thought OK, be calm, straighten out, and concentrate on just breathing. It passed in what felt like a couple of minutes and then when I returned to normal breathing I got back on and took it easy till I got home, I didn't feel that bad after but I didn't want to push in case SOB would come back.
It freaks me out quite a bit that there was no warning. Is this something that happens to everyone at some stage if they push two hard? Does it sound like Asthma?
Any advice would be much appreciated,
Sorry to hear that happened to you, and yes it would be damn scary.
First thing is of course to have your GP check you out and possibly have a few tests done to rule out all the serious stuff that may cause sudden shortness of breath during exercise.
The only other thing I can think of that may cause rapid and short term inflammation of the airways and/or a stricture, is breathing in a large amount of pollen, or some sort of toxic fumes for a short period of time.
While I have no idea what is around the area where the problem occurred that may have led to this, factories or bush land.......either could be to blame.
This time of year is always bad for respiratory conditions - be they permanent , or temporary in nature.
You did the right thing by stopping and trying to calm / control your breathing. To be on the safe side, it would be advisable to go and see your GP.
Some substances can have a devastating effect on your ability to breathe when you inhale them.
I remember one instance on a hot day when I decided to buy a McDonald’s ice cream and ride my bike while eating it, and accidentally breathed in a minute amount of ice cream.
I finished up sitting on the side of the road struggling to breathe with my throat just about closed down for about 15 minutes, and though I wasn't going to make it.
Scared the hell out of me.
Asthma is not something to ignore. I would definitely be getting it checked. Yes it is possible to develop asthma at a mature age.
Agree with macca that this is a really bad time of year. Mrs C+W is usually bad this time of year but seems even worse this year, had a small response just by walking past someone smoking outside in the city a few weeks ago. (Cat hairs, cigarette smoke, pollen, rye grass, even cold air will trigger her asthma under the right conditions; seems she has a heightened allergic response this time of year due to all the triggers). The other week she went for a bike ride and went past a paddock that had just been mown, worst thing was - she had forgotten her (ventolin) puffer.
Good luck, once you have a diagnosis and treatment plan it's something you can relax about rather than wondering if the SOB will kick in again at an unexpected moment.
Merida 903 from the LBS; Diesel engine
Only thing odd is, if it was really an asthma attack, it won't resolve so quickly and without treatment.
The only way to really know whether you have an underlying asthma is to go and see your doctor and possibly do a challenge test. I am sceptical though.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Sounds like what is referred to as exercise induced asthma . I sometimes experience this when exposed to cold air or assorted other pollutants (smoke, car exhausts etc) while riding, especially if I've been unwell or otherwise not exercising for a period of time. I don't suffer with asthma normally and the first time it happened I thought I was going to die and went to see my Doctor about it.
As my fitness returns to normal levels the EIA goes away, though I do carry a ventolin inhaler sometimes - especially if I've had a cold or flu- just in case.
Having said that, shortness of breath can indicate a lot of different things and a medical review would give you some clearer idea of what's going on.
I get exercise induced asthma regularly, it doesn't stop without ventolin, it can take a day or two to settle down after I have an attack. Start of this year I got a chest virus and end up with full-blown asthma, was waking in the night and coughing out a lung, ended up on steroids to control it.
Doesn't sound like asthma to me. Off to the doctor you go...
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I ride, therefore I am.
...real cyclists don't have squeaky chains...
Thanks guys I'm reading up on your suggestions. I do get bad hay fever at times (uncontrolled sneezing) but its 99.9% eliminated when I take a hay fever tablet first thing every morning. Perhaps I did breath up a lot of pollen, I know I ate a lot of those bloody little fleas that congregate together on that ride. I hit a big cloud of them 3 times.
Anyway I was hoping for a 'you just hit the wall mate, it happens to us all' so its off the Doctor for me.
It happened again today at the Vets race at Lansdown. I was having a relatively comfortable race mid pack in D and worked my way up to third for the mid race sprint. The guy in the lead made a brake for it a little early (mid lap), the guy in second chased and I just sat on his wheel, he dragged me up and we passed the first guy at about the 3/4 lap mark but he was tiring and by this stage I thought I had a good chance at the sprint but as I thought about getting around and going for it I started to feel the tightening up of the throat and chest. I stayed behind him for a bit longer hoping it would go away but it didn’t and I didn’t want to be on the track having an attack so I stuck my hand out pulled over. The pack was a good bit behind so I was off track comfortably when they got past, I just walked back to the start and it stopped building and went away.
It’s really frustrating not being able to push myself, and it doesn’t take much push at all now for it to return.
Can anyone recommend a sports doctor that would have facilities for testing for exercise induced asthma or even a doctor that rides in Sydney and has a bit of experience with such matters. It would be good to see one that understood sports, fitness etc and not just a regular GP.
About 5 years back I had the exact same thing happen to me. However I was surfing a river mouth sand bar about a kilometer off shore with access by boat. The boat was anchored on the other side of the break a good 200mtr paddle away, against a current and in a pretty large swell. I was okay obviously but it was the scariest thing ive ever been through. I had a full heart and lung test that showed nothing. The doctor diagnosed EIA and prescribed ventolin. A couple of puffs before exercise. The ventolin managed it fine and as ive lost about 10 kilos in that time and gotten a lot fitter the asthma has totally cleared up. I still carry a puffer with me whenever I have a ride and always have a puff or two before a surf. It's just become a habit. Especially on those long rides like the gorges or something like the fitz or alpine where I feel a bit on my own if something goes wrong.
Ive also found it is exacerbated by booze. Not that I was a heavy drinker in the first place but I have cut right back to almost nill now.
Just reading that's scary Jim, I had the luxury of knowing I was near help and I could just stand there and recover. I did a lot of reading up on it last night but its good to hear some first hand experience and really good to hear that the puffer can keep it away. I'm off to see the GP today.
The GP referred me to a specialist at RNS Private and the gods were smiling on me as when I rang I was told the next available appointment was in March or if i could make 9am the next day they had a cancellation, so 9am it was. The specialist was really good and a rider as well (he currently had a broken collar bone from a crash), he examined me and listened to my story and said that 99% it was sports induced Asthma but that he would get me to do tests to confirm the diagnosis. He prescribed me a puffer for the meantime (2puffs prior to a ride and one ever hour during the ride).
The puffer works a treat! I came 2 in the D grade prim at Sundays Waratah Masters race in Lansdowne and had a strong race overall pushing myself without a hint of SOB and in Saturdays D Grade LACC race in Bass hill won the prim and came 3rd (only a field of 8-10 though), again without a hint of SOB.
The 1st asthma test is booked for this Thursday and another one next week. they should confirm the diagnosis but I'm just pumped I can push hard again without fear of SOB.
I'm pleased you have found the answer, and while suffering asthma is not good, at least there is a way around the problem so that you can keep riding and competing.
PED's? Salbutamol is on the WADA banned list. You'd better watch out for the drug testers hanging around the Crits
That said, as a life long asthma sufferer, the advent of Intal and Ventolin was a Godsend! An attack is a very scary thing.
Yikes, I hadn't thought of that. Ill have to refund the $10 prize money I got for Saturdays prim and 3rd placing
In all seriousness though the puffer is a Ventolin, is that on the band list? is there a process I should be going through here? perhaps a form I should be filling out getting an exemption...
This link below answers your questions, looks like you don't need to pester your doctor for an explanatory letter.
I am sure you will find that lots of competitive cyclists use salbutamol inhalers (ventolin), usually for legitimate reasons
"Technology gives us much more information but Education is never be able to give us the skill to evaluate it"
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